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Infant-Toddler Advocates Essential in the Fight to Declare Racism a Public Health Crisis

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Even among pediatric offices that have prioritized developmental screening, overcoming inequity has been difficult.

ZERO TO THREE’s recently released State of Babies Yearbook: 2020 identifies that by nearly every measure, racial disparities begin early, sometimes before a child of color is even born.

Even before the pandemic, infant-toddler advocates in Ohio were bringing awareness of these inequities and their impact to policy conversations.

In 2018, Groundwork Ohio released the Ohio Early Childhood Race and Rural Equity Report, designed to promote understanding among policymakers and stakeholders of how race and location matter to the policies, institutions, and systems that shape the future for children and families. As Groundwork prepares to bring the follow-up of this report to publication, they have been called upon to provide testimony for the Minority Health Strike Force created by Governor DeWine during COVID-19, and as the state Senate looks to declare racism a public health crisis in the state of Ohio.

Also crucial in this effort, the National Black Child Development Institute and Black Child Development Institute Cleveland released the 2019 State of the Black Child Report Card for Ohio in February 2019. The report card called for Ohio to declare racism a public health crisis and take action to address inequities in early childhood education, housing, health, and other indicators of child wellbeing. As a result of a collective effort, this past June, Cleveland joined several other cities in Ohio in declaring racism a public health crisis.

How are your state and community leaders addressing disparities for your youngest residents and their families? Let us know at [email protected].


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